Month: July 2015

Forbidden Fruit: Cuba’s Booming Art Industry

posted by – 07/22/15 @ 4:40pm

With the restoration of U.S.- Cuban relations this year, many aficionados of the art world are predicting a rise in sales of Cuban art. U.S. collectors were already able to purchase Cuban artwork due to a loophole in the trade embargo allowing for the purchase of cultural assets. However, the Havana Biennial in May was a major destination for American collectors, and a 2014 Wall Street Journal piece predicts an increased interest in the country’s artwork as it becomes easier for Americans to travel there and discover new artists.

El Caiman by José Betancourt

El Caiman // José Betancourt

The unique situation faced by Cuban artists – isolation, lack of supplies – lends itself to an art scene unlike any other. Many Cuban artists incorporate found objects and weathered materials into their work. Artists such as Los Carpinteros deal with social issues facing Cubans today. Increased accessibility to the nation will provide an unprecedented look into the work of talented, previously undiscovered artists.

Sea Escape // José Betancourt

In his upcoming exhibition at Tinney, Cuban-born artist José Betancourt explores his own relationship with his native country, which he left in 1971 at a young age. Cuba: Reconstructing Memories presents a series of altered photographs inspired by Betancourt’s memories of his childhood and provides a fascinating glimpse into his relationship with his past.


Art Heals: Charleston Comes Together

posted by – 07/09/15 @ 5:13pm


We have all heard about the atrocity, which was racially charge, that occurred in Charleston recently that resulted in the death of 9 people at a church meeting. With many facets of life, it is difficult to express emotion in a healthy way, and for Charleston, art has become one way in which its citizens have been able to convey their feelings towards this incident.

I believe that it is the want and need to connect to something on a deeper level. In the broader scheme of things, the creation of something meaningful out of meaninglessness can be therapeutic in its own right. Many times in the creation of art, artists are reaching a point where the conscious and subconscious work together. The conscious act of working on a work of art subconsciously helps one, especially in this case, deal with the results of foreign concepts and incidents. The joy that spectators receive from the art helps to put them in a better space as well. All justification to the why is speculative, but it is a fact that the passion felt through the creation and viewing of art reaches us in an almost inexplicable way, giving us better, healthier perspective and understanding.

Read more here in this Huffington Post article that chronicles the transformative ways in which art is helping Charleston heal. #CharlestonStrong

Instagram as Art: Richard Prince’s “New Portraits”

posted by – 07/03/15 @ 4:33pm

The Huffington Post recently published an article about appropriation artist Richard Prince, the artist who refurbished random Instagram photos in his 2014 exhibition “New Portraits.” The exhibition sparked controversy, raising questions regarding copyright issues and originality.

"New Portraits"

“New Portraits” /

The show is made up of enlarged copies of Instagram photos, posted by both celebrities and ordinary people, with Prince’s own comments at the bottom of each. The pieces reportedly sell for $90,000. The exhibition calls into question the notion of ownership in the Internet age, as well as the importance of personal branding.

"New Portraits"

“New Portraits” /

“New Portraits” also highlights the role Instagram plays in today’s art world. As a purely visual medium, Instagram offers everyday users a way to express themselves, as well as a platform for artists to promote their work and establish their brand. The age of social media calls for fluidity and flexibility, and Prince’s work highlights the changing nature of ownership.